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405: Writing Seminar

credits: 2

This seminar will focus on research writing in social sciences-humanities contexts. Although there are no prescribed readings for the course, short readings and handouts will be provided from time to time. In this course, students will be expected to produce three pieces of writing: (a) a research journal (b) a literature review, and (c) the draft of a research proposal. In addition, each student will choose a topic to research for the CSCS Media Archive, and put together a mini-database of resources for inclusion in the electronic archive. In the introductory sessions, we will explore aspects of academic writing such as structuring an argument, structuring paragraphs and sentences, finding and constructing thesis statements, etc. Additionally, we will devote some sessions to methodological issues, with reference to the work of faculty and research scholars at the Centre. Students will learn to demarcate the context of research, identify a specific research problem, and formulate the methodology to be employed in their thesis. They will acquire these skills through a series of writing tasks assigned by the instructor.

Session I: Introduction. Exercises: Rewriting sentences; compare and contrast.

Session II: Discussion on methodology: examples from anthropology, history and literary studies. Issues of interdisciplinarity.

Session III: Topic Sentences and Thesis Statements. Sources and Bibliographies.

Session IV: Establishing the context for research. Identifying the research problem. Use of evidence. The role of hypothesis. Using the library. [Hand in exercise on paraphrasing]

Session V: Research techniques: a view from the "field". Discussion with senior CSCS students. Looking at earlier research proposals. [Hand in note: In Search of a Topic]

Session VI: Defining the focus of research. Moving research topics from the existential to the intellectual. [Hand in note on preliminary search for sources]

Session VII: How to define your key concepts. [Hand in note on conceptualizing and communicating your research topic]

Session VIII: Quantitative and qualitative research.

Session IX: Structuring the research proposal. [Hand in critical review of three or more texts related to your research topic.]

Session X: Compiling a bibliography. Demarcating the field of research.

Session XI: Writing the research proposal.

Session XII: Discussion of Proposal 1.

Session XIII: Proposals 2 and 3.

Session XIV: Proposals 4 and 5.

Session XV: Final suggestions. [Hand in research journal]

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